The Duty of Care is the law which says you must take all reasonable steps to keep and dispose of rubbish safely. If you break this law, you can be fined or even prosecuted.
Using someone to get rid of your rubbish
You have a legal 'duty of care' to make sure what anyone you ask to take away your rubbish, is registered and authorised to do so.
You can make checks to show you've met your 'duty of care'. Keep records of these checks so you can use them as evidence in case a contractor breaks the law.
How to chose a contractor
When deciding which contractor to use, you must ensure:
- That they are registered as a Waste Carrier with the Environment Agency. You can also phone 03708 506506 to check.
- Can they show you evidence of their authorisation such as their permit?
- They are taking the waste to an authorised location where it will be disposed of safely
- to get a Waste Transfer Note or receipt when you hand your waste over. This must show the contractor's name and details as well as details of your waste. You must keep this note for two years. Download a Waste Transfer Note template (opens new window) if they cannot provide one.
Things to avoid
Do not use unlicensed waste collection services. Be especially careful of those that advertise on social media for cheap prices. Some may be legitimate businesses, but others are not.
Never advertise on social media for a waste carrier. Many responses will be from illegitimate carriers and result in your rubbish being fly-tipped. Always research the company or individual you use and do not rely on positive feedback, as this may be false.
If you use an unlicensed waste removal service you commit a criminal offence and you could face a £400 fine or be prosecuted at Criminal Court, where you could receive an unlimited fine and a criminal record.
If you have rubbish taken from your home, which is found fly-tipped and is traced back to you, you could be taken to court. You could be fined and you may get a criminal record.
Remember, your waste is still your responsibility, even when you’ve given it to someone else.
Environmental Enforcement Team
If you are in doubt, contact the Environmental Enforcement Team. Our team of officers will be happy to advise you.